The Department of Illustration

Scrimshaw for dead objects

Posted in Drawing, Handmade, Historical, Ideas, Writing, Theory by The Department of Illustration on August 8, 2010

Michael Dinges, interviewed recently in Hand Eye Magazine (‘Scratch the Surface’ Keith Recker, 2009) says:-

“In general, I’m interested in the technology and imagery of the mid 19th-century. When the industrial revolution was really rolling, people were migrating from the country to the city. This is the era Marx was reacting to and he was aware of the changing dynamic and resulting alienation between worker and task. This is the period where roles of labor and management were being set, and the environmental impact of industrialization began to be keenly felt. This was also the period in which Thoreau was writing, so these issues were in the air. This is when whaling was at its peak and with that efficiency of production came the eventual, near destruction, of the very resource that sustained us.
Alienation is a big issue for me in my work. I’m interested in asking both the viewer and myself about issues concerning our relationship with modernity. I want the viewer to ask himself or herself, when confronted with one of my altered computers, for example, “Is this what you wanted, is this the result you intended?” I intend this work to be a plea for mindfulness in the choices we make in our daily lives.”

Lost Skills Project

Posted in Collaborations, Handmade, Historical, Local/Global, People, photography, Site Specific, True Stories by The Department of Illustration on August 8, 2010

This is gathering pace and getting to be a really fun and rewarding project. The council have given us the FREE use of a stall in the market to demonstrate and encourage an exchange of skills to be passed on in short workshops.  So far we have had zine making, pinhole camera, and crochet flowers…and rag rugs, fly fishing lures and traditional signwriting are in the pipeline.

Bex has also set up her fantastic ‘Community Quilt’ project within the stall, asking for participants to embroider their memories of Wrexham into a collaborative quilt, which we will show at Wrexham History Festival next February.

If you would like to get involved, the fb page is here and the blog is here

Look out for the September issue of a-n as there is a little article about the project by Emily Speed.

I will be talking about the project and learning how to extend and improve it at a conference on ‘Sustainability in Design Now!’ in Bangalore at the end of September.

The Ministry of Frogs

Posted in Collaborations, Decorative, Handmade, Historical, Ideas, Writing, Theory by The Department of Illustration on June 2, 2010

This is a new zine I am setting up to do with folk art and how it inspires contemporary practice. If you would like to submit work please check out the info on the fb page

I am already overwhelmed by the talent going into issue one…thank you everyone who has expressed an interest and/or sent in work already.

Please email submissions to by July 15th thank you x

Toy making classes at Parson’s New York

Posted in 3d, Character Design, Children's, Handmade by The Department of Illustration on December 17, 2009

course blog here

nwsad craft collective

Posted in Handmade, Professional by The Department of Illustration on November 16, 2009

have a good looking etsy shop


Jean Julien

Posted in Handmade, Visual Language by The Department of Illustration on November 14, 2009

sorting a lecture on paper cut illustration and came accross Jean Julien, a nice antidote to the intricate doily/ Rob Ryan style cuts abounding.









This reminded me of a fairy tale workshop I did with L5 students a while ago, where we cut out story characters and landscapes in white paper as a way of thinking about archetypes.fairy-tale-workshop

Os Gemeos

Posted in Events, Handmade, International, Visual Language by The Department of Illustration on October 27, 2009


29aamazing show by Brazilian street artists Os Gemeos. Love the panoramic 360 degree effect of the side slider website. Also really great use of projector screens in the show…have a look

Hannah Waldron

Posted in Character Design, Children's, Handmade by The Department of Illustration on October 18, 2009

3todayowl“Today I am a Polar bear’ is a limited edition run of 225 books(. 1st edition: 25 books, 2nd edition: 50 books, 3rd edition: 150 books ) featuring 7 different illustrated animal masks to make and disguise yourself as.
Each book is entirely handmade and features a screen printed cover and hidden poster and another screen print within the centre page, as well as a unique handmade finger puppet.
The book can be taken apart easily to make the animal masks and to display the prints, or… kept as a book, the choice is yours.
Another decision you will have to make is…
…which animal will you be today?!”

Available in my shop or in Magma Bookshop

bird book

Posted in Handmade, People by The Department of Illustration on October 17, 2009

link to Geninne’s blog


Maker Faire Cardiff

Posted in Digital Culture, Events, Handmade by The Department of Illustration on October 15, 2009

Maker Faire

/ 23 – 24 Oct 2009 / 11 am – 4 pm / Stiwdio, Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff

Micro Maker Faire Wales is produced in cooperation with Maker Faire.

Along the lines of Makers and Hackers, Folksy, Craft Mafia, Howduino, Oomlout and other get-together events for technical doers, the festival is preparing Wales’ first Maker Faire – an event for DIY enthusiasts with a taste for the technical. Individuals and collectives will come together to demonstrate their homebrew technical concoctions that will be showcased through this dynamic event that’s part village fete and part hands-on workshops. Be prepared to be surprised and engaged and to go home informed and inspired.

A family-friendly event where you can make with makers who will share how they do what they do over a two-day period.

There will be gizmos and gadgetry for sale and you may need to pay a small contribution towards parts if you would like to ‘make-it-yourself’ during the Faire.